Cialfo vs Guided Path vs CollegePlannerPro

 Before we built Cialfo, we were former independent education consultants using spreadsheets to run our business. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but the college guidance platforms available in 2012 were either poorly designed or missing several features we absolutely needed. We continued using Excel.

But after three years, the negative side effects had become too painful to ignore. Fractured workflows, disjointed team communication – problems we can’t solve with spreadsheets. When we discovered college guidance platforms still hadn’t progressed since 2012, we threw our hands up and decided to build Cialfo.

Cialfo: a thorough, all-in-one source of global college data and information

With CollegePlannerPro and Guided Path, your access to college data is limited. With Cialfo, you know everything we know — which is a lot.

One of the problems with CollegePlannerPro and Guided Path is that they’re largely U.S-centric and undergrad-focused. Both CollegePlannerPro and Guided Path only support undergraduate applications, and their university destinations are mainly limited to schools in the U.S.

We built Cialfo around one simple tenet: students come from all over the world to attend schools all over the world. We support five different application types (undergraduate, postgraduate, MBA, medical school, and boarding school) to schools in 20 countries. This not only includes the U.S and U.K, but also Ireland, Japan, Australia, and China, to name a few.



Speaking of China — if you work with Chinese students, you’ll be familiar with the struggle of using websites from behind The Great Firewall. That won’t be a problem anymore with Cialfo. Not only is our platform optimised for China, we also offer a Wechat integration so your students can use the tool most familiar to them.

Of course, as much as we’d love to, we can’t support every school in the world. Custom Schools lets you add schools that we don’t currently have in our database, allowing your entire team to shortlist and finalise that school for your students. Combined with Essay Prompts, our huge database of essay supplements for 300+ schools and counting, you now have access to as much information as we know.

Reclaim your attention and do meaningful work

In CollegePlannerPro, each counsellor has to have their own account, separated from the rest of the team. In Cialfo, the entire company shares a common base – making it simple to share and collaborate.

How do you distribute information with team members or students? Maybe you use a service like Slack or Hipchat, or maybe you the tried-and-true email. Unlike CollegePlannerPro and Guided Path, Cialfo was built from the beginning with collaboration in mind.

To sign into Cialfo, you use one URL: That’s it. This includes counsellors, managers, and students. On login, you’ll be presented with a dashboard that highlights and summarises the application progress for every student assigned to you. The administrator controls and sets User Roles. Maybe you want only managers to be able to see every student assigned to every mentor. Maybe you want everybody to be in the loop. It’s all up to you.

The average white-collar worker spends 4.1 hours checking their work email each day. That’s 20.5 hours each week. Over 1,000 hours each year. More than 47,000 hours over a career.

In that time, we could’ve learnt two dozen new languages. Hiked the Appalachian Trail… 100 times over. But instead, we were typing out gems like “nine doesn’t work for me, what about noon?” and “please acknowledge, thanks”. Little by little, we pay the cost as we get pulled into email thread after email thread throughout the day. Would you tolerate someone knocking on your door every two minutes?

We believe in meaningful work, not busywork. With Cialfo…

  • Emails have been replaced with Inbox, an in-app messenger that connects you directly to a student.
  • Custom Questionnaires allow you to ask routine questions and send that to every new student.
  • Our Reach/Target/Safety Shortlisting will recommend schools based off your student’s profile and grades.

Made for students and parents

College decisions don’t happen in a day, and it doesn’t happen in a vaccuum either. The Meeting Scheduler lets your students view your calendar and make appointments at your available time slots, and College Reports generates smart PDF reports for you to send to students, parents, or guardians.

With so many students preferring mobile to desktops, college admissions has to adapt as well. With Cialfo’s mobile apps – available on both iOS and Android – your students can access the platform anywhere and at anytime they wish. Neither College Planner Pro nor Guided Path offer mobile applications.

It’s time to move your team to a college guidance platform that is truly built for teams. Cialfo gives your team organised space they need to perform meaningful work and collaborate closely with students. Work in progress is now progress in work.

Further Reading

Edit November 30th: a previous version of this article misstated that CollegePlannerPro charged for essay prompts via Prompt. This has been corrected.

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